To address polarizing issues, let's keep it complicated
July 25, 2018
I'm very tired of listening to people belittle the people they disagree with. I want to avoid the trap and learn to understand more people, all the time. I recently found an article for journalists that explains how to frame a discussion in order to avoid having both parties retreat into their battle positions.
How to complicate a narrative:
- Amplify contradictions
- Widen the lens
- Ask questions that get to people's motivations
care, fairness, liberty, loyalty, authority, sanctity
- Listen more, and better
- Expose people to the other tribe
- Counter the confirmation bias (carefully)
Solutions Journalism Network: Complicating the Narratives, 2018-Jun-27 by Amanda Ripley
In the midst of conflict, our audiences are profoundly uncomfortable, and they want to feel better. “The natural human tendency is to reduce that tension,” Coleman writes, “by seeking coherence through simplification.” Tidy narratives succumb to this urge to simplify, gently warping reality until one side looks good and the other looks evil. We soothe ourselves with the knowledge that all Republicans are racist rednecks — or all Democrats are precious snowflakes who hate America.
Complexity counters this craving, restoring the cracks and inconsistencies that had been air-brushed out of the picture. It’s less comforting, yes. But it’s also more interesting — and true.